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# Torchwood — Since I'm completely crap at predicting plot twists in advance, I should probably stop speculating, but looking at Jack's arc, I can't help wondering what the endgame is. That Jack finally came to the realisation that he wanted to live was absolutely necessary from a narrative perspective, and was also something that I very much wanted and needed to see on a personal level, but now that it's happened, I've started to worry what the consequences might be.

When he tells Gwen, 'Now that I'm mortal I'm gonna hang on to this with everything I've got', it's not entirely clear yet (maybe not even to him) whether he means life generally, or this new, mortal life that suddenly gave him back a lot of possibilities he thought he'd lost forever. However, in the end, when he tells Gwen that he doesn't want to die, this is in direct context with all the life he's already had, and that in the end still isn't enough. He tells her about the firebird, which could also be read as a metaphor for human lives in comparison to the eternity Jack used to have ('But the image stays behind your eyelids for longer than it was alive'), and Gwen asks him, or maybe more precisely wants to hear from him that having had a lot of lifetimes, more than the average human being, is a consolation in the face of death. And Jack's looks into the distance and says, 'It's not enough. I don't want to die.'

After years of 'everything has its time and everything dies' on DW I've got to say that this makes me slightly apprehensive. Has he earned this moment of egoism with all the deaths he's died, with all the people he had to watch die, with all the despair and pain he's been through and all the regrets he's living with? He may have had a much longer life than the average human being, but he's also payed the price for it. Or does this mean that the narrative is now going to turn on him and make him regret those words?

I don't think it's going to be about the acceptance of death in the end, though. While I wouldn't put it completely past RTD to kill Jack if he thought the story demanded it, Jack isn't Ten. Ten's problem wasn't just that he didn't want to die, but that he'd wanted and in the end had claimed power over life and death, so he had to submit to death. But that was Ten's end, and it feels wrong for Jack somehow, too easy, too repetitive. Even ignoring the Face of Boe connection, which RTD may or may not chose to retcon, or decide happened in an alternate timeline, Jack had already sacrificed himself once back in TPoW.

Besides, Jack's 'I don't want to die' moment was a very emotional one that perhaps surprised even himself, forced out of him in a situation where after a very long time of struggling with the disadvantages of immortality he suddenly found himself once again confronted with the dangers mortality posed. Once he starts to think about it rationally, about Ianto and Tosh and Owen and all the people who sacrificed themselves after a much shorter lifetime, or Steven, who simply was sacrificed without being given a choice in the matter, he'll have to realise that regret is normal, but that he really doesn't have much of a moral high ground here. I don't think this moment will repeat itself. RTD as a rule makes his characters sacrifice what costs them most, and despite everything I don't think for Jack death would be the biggest sacrifice.

I still think Jack's eventual sacrifice will be to go back to being immortal, although at least with a new appreciation of life, or perhaps the knowledge that it will end for him a long way in the future, since what happened once might happen again, although under less disastrous circumstances; for me this seems the most logical conclusion to his arc, especially since the miracle was connected to Jack's immortality, so the same will probably be true for its reversal.

Is it Saturday already?

# Finally saw the last HP movie with my sister, and while unlike THBP it wasn't completely terrible, even somewhat touching occasionally, I can't say I was very impressed either. It's hard to tell after eight months, but I think I liked the first part better. Or maybe I was just in a better mood at the time? I'm aware that a film necessarily follows different laws than a book, but what I simply don't understand is how someone can read DH and apparently come to the conclusion that Dumbledore's story is some kind of filler or afterthought that might just as well be left out. Then again, they already managed to to miss the point by a mile with THBP, where the title of the book might at least have given them a clue, so that's nothing new....

Is this sheer stupidity though, or are TPTB just incredibly cynical regarding the intelligence of the average movie goer?

Or is this me being weird? But especially since TGoF I remember coming out of every movie thinking how much smaller, how much less they were than the books in the ways that really counted. A central part of Harry's growing-up process in DH is that he goes through this crisis of trust regarding Dumbledore, but in the end can understand that Dumbledore was only a man, brilliant in some ways and flawed in others; that often the world isn't as black and white as the eleven year old boy who first came to Hogwarts believed. And it's an important part of the King's Cross chapter that Dumbledore isn't just the wise, mysterious (if somewhat eccentric) mentor figure any longer, but also a man who asks Harry's forgiveness, and who has deep and lasting regrets about the mistakes the arrogant, brilliant boy he was had made, tempted by power and grand dreams.

I didn't hate the part with Snape's memories, although Alan Rickman never was the Snape I saw after reading the books and the discrepancy never jared quite as badly as in this movie, but there were still so many important details missing, like the fact that Dumbledore's reason for making Snape promise to kill him wasn't his concern about Voldemort's trust in Snape, but that he didn't want a frightened teenage boy to become a murderer on his behalf. It's an important part of his characterisation that despite his determination to win the war and all the sacrifices he was prepared to make he did care about things like that, and to change that is, IMO, a problematic decision. I really do love the whole conversation between Dumbledore and Snape in the book because it offers a glimpse at them not filtered through Harry's eyes and shows the level of trust and respect that had developed between them over the years despite everything, and the movie didn't really manage to convey that either.

Or why exactly Lilly in the end broke off her friendship with Severus. These things matter more than extra minutes of CGI battle and the endlessly drawn-out killing of Nagini, which barely takes up two paragraphs in the book...


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if the endgame will centre around Gwen and Jack's conversation--perhaps Gwen will have to choose between Jack and Anwen. I wouldn't put it past RTD.
Aug. 24th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
You may be right, the solution in the last episode was almost too easy. I know it's stupid, but somehow in my head Gwen still falls under the 'essentially safe' category.

I just really do hope that Jack won't get re-immortalised without at least having a bit of a say in the matter, even if it's the kind of choice that's no choice at all. Then again, probably wishful thinking. Who knows what RTD came up with this time...
Aug. 24th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
(I'm trying not to spoil myself for Miracle Day, so not scrolling up...)

On the theme of the Deathly Hallows movie, though... I didn't think that they got everything, by any means. There are so many things missing. But by this point, after being enchanted as a kid by the first two, being severely let down by PoA, my heart broken at the astonishing crap of GoF, and very slowly regaining my faith as they did *some* things right since OotP... I was ok with this movie. No, I was actually pleased.

Yes, of course, the movies are so much less than the books. Fact. Yes, they cut out things they consider sub-plots, which aren't subplots, but crucial. You know, like the history of the Marauders in PoA or the title character in Half-Blood Prince. Or the fact that Dumbledore is a nice guy in Goblet of Fire.

But what I'd been looking for in the past few movies was them getting the spirit of the books right. No, they didn't get everything else right. Like the battle between Harry and Voldemort that's not supposed to be a battle, that can't be a battle because in no universe can Harry beat Voldemort by wandwork, all he can do is talk at him - that battle, which got extended to at least ten minutes long. Much of the Snape stuff (although letting us actually see Alan Rickman sobbing over Lily's body was brilliant). The Albus story. And more was wrong. But... I think, that at the last, final chance, they actually got what these books are about. I don't see myself applauding these movies for years. But I'm glad that in the end, they got it.
Aug. 25th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
I guess my problem might be that the I'm maybe a bit too analytical sometimes. Or maybe it's because none of the leads except maybe Ron ever really fit the mental picture I had of them? In any case, for me it's always been too hit-or-miss. I do remember quite liking OotP, though, and oddly enough PoA, although I'm perfectly aware it also left out major parts.

Looking at Game of Thrones I wonder if a TV show might not have been a better format...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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